My rocks were precious. I would often sort them, wash them, sometimes paint them with some clear nail polish. I loved my rocks. I loved learning about my rocks too. My favorite book was all about rocks and minerals.
This book was in my hands more often than anything else around the age of six. I would look over it trying to find my rocks in the pages. I couldn't read and understand this whole book. However, I was reading it, the way a six-year-old reads a book they don't fully understand.
Reading this book did not stunt my reading development. I was eager and motivated to learn, therefore I picked up this book over and over again. During this same time in my life, I was learning to read from a Basal reader, memorizing passages for stickers, and reading sentences from the blackboard. We had a lot of books in my home. My parents read to me every night. I ultimately learned to read with the help of teachers and my parents. Not everyone learns to read in this way. I know this because I have been able to share in the joy of many children as they learn to read. There are certainly things that help all children. Access to books is a primary circumstance of reading enthusiasm and achievement. Understanding sounds and manipulating them, hearing them, and recognizing the symbols they represent in written language is a large part of decoding text. Rich conversations, listening to a lot of reading, and drawing inferences from illustrations builds vocabulary development and understanding. Reading cannot be distilled down to a few steps, strategies, and skills. When you ask readers how they learned to read, their answers are mixed. Many probably don't know. Some respond immediately with the challenges they faced. All of these bits and pieces of a readers' story are what shape their relationship with reading.
I came across my favorite book today when I was once again re-organizing my office/writing/remote classroom space. It paralleled the many conversations I've seen on Twitter and Facebook referring to reading, readers, and what they need. Or, what they don't need. It made me consider my own reading story. I wonder what all those who are writing about other people and their reading research would say about their own reading lives? My book about rocks and minerals helped shape my reading experiences. What shaped your relationship with reading?